Houston weighs in on National Football League kneeling protests

President's criticisms spark more protests at NFL games

In fact, the presidential debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton caused the Week 3 MNF game in 2016 to have its lowest viewership in at least 25 years.

Donald Trump and many have claimed that the NFL's ratings are down because of league-wide protests during the national anthem.

That's down eight percent from the Week 2 Sunday night matchup between Atlanta and Green Bay and down 10 percent from the NFL's Week 3 game a year ago. Yet CBS said the overnight ratings from big cities for this past weekend's games, while generally less reliable than the measurement taken over the whole country, were up 4 percent over a year ago. Fox's first pregame show, "Fox NFL Kickoff", was up 30% compared to previous year while its second pregame show, "Fox NFL Sunday", was up 9%.

On a day when around 200 NFL players engaged in some form of protest against racial inequality in America by kneeling, sitting, locking arms, or raising a fist during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner, ' the league endured its worst ratings for Sunday Night Football this season".

NBC said 11.6 percent of households tuned into the game, down from 12.9 percent who viewed the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys in last season's week three. Additionally, CBS' NFL Today pregame show scored its highest rating since 2010.

The president tweeted over the weekend: "NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN".

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color", Kaepernick said, to NFL.com at the time.

The protests are expected to continue through Monday Night Football as the Dallas Cowboys face the Arizona Cardinals. "He's fired, '" Trump told a crowd in Alabama on Friday night.

Generally, TV networks don't even bother showing the national anthem when it is played before the game.

Fox, CBS, and NBC all broadcast the national anthem live during football games Sunday - a notable shift away from their usual practice.

It seems likely, and logical, that Trump's vast social media presence-his personal Twitter account has around 39.3 million followers-is helping to bring a new audience to a league and sport electrified by the president's very public opposition.

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